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October 6, 2015

The Onion starts a 24-hour fake news network - VIDEO

by Joel Keller, posted Mar 27th 2007 4:42PM
Onion News NetworkAnyone who's heard The Onion Radio News knows that The Onion's ingenious brand of fake print news doesn't always translate well to a verbal spoken medium. The format is pitch-perfect on the page but, when you listen to it, the stories' scripted nature make them come across more like a comedy sketch and less like a news story.

With the folks at The Onion starting a 24-hour online fake news network called The Onion News Network, or ONN, the same problem occurs. The Onion's president, Sean Mills, told Variety, with tongue apparently planted firmly in cheek, that ONN is not trying to be like The Daily Show or "Weekend Update" on SNL. "Those are parody shows, and this is serious news," said Mills. "There's no studio audience, and no one's in on the joke. What we are trying to create is a broadcast-quality newscast on the Internet."

Uh, sure, Sean. Variety, for some reason, reports that statement without further comment. But one look at the videos displayed there, shows that the stories are fully scripted and structured more like Mad TV sketches than real news reports.

Not that the reports aren't funny. In the piece attached below, a Lucent Technologies executive is displaced by an undocumented worker. Why? Because he was willing to work for much less than the person who was displaced: $600,000 per year instead of $800,000.

According to the article, The Onion is planning on making the videos available on their site as well as on YouTube, Joost and MySpace. It will also make the videos available to TiVo users. All advertising revenue will be split with the provider. Clips will also be made available on iTunes. I wish them luck, because more comedy on the web is always a good thing.

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I actually think it is really smart. That Comedy Central live audience "feel" completely snaps me back into reality. These clips, at least this one anyhow, seems like a real news-clip from a real network. I think it's funny and cutting edge.

March 28 2007 at 1:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This looks really similar to CNNN - Chaser Non-stop News Network from Australia

March 27 2007 at 11:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Sam, I changed it to "spoken medium." Thanks for the clarification.

March 27 2007 at 9:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rufus Firefly

I know this sounds very picky, but I can't let this go. With reference to the first sentence: print journalism IS a verbal medium.

March 27 2007 at 8:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Umm, maybe you're thinking of more 'good' comedy on the web? I'm pretty sure that the web already has plenty of funny videos and other various ways to waste time. I do listen to their podcasts and I am a bit confused as to how they can go about making fake news for 24 hours...but if Fox News can do it, I'm sure they can!

I. Am. So. Sorry. Someone was going to make a Fox News joke and it might as well be me!


March 27 2007 at 7:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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